Author's note – This essay has more venom to the tone then I usually get.

Reading the Books

There is a popular trend in fanfiction writing. Some would call it a fad because it currently seems very popular and there is hope that it is something that those falling into the trend will soon forget about and move on from. Some would call it a story or a fanfic, but in most regards I am hard pressed to call it a story or a fanfic except for a very select group. This trend is the dreaded Reading the Books.

Around the summer of 2012 the site admins removed many Reading the Books compilations from the archive. I almost said story there instead of compilation, but as I've said... they really shouldn't most of them be called stories or fanfics. The reason they were removed was because they broke site rules. You would have thought that the people writing and reading them would get a clue about why they aren't allowed, but instead I've seen a lot of people trying to petition the site to get the put back or even allowed. Which is never going to happen... most of them are against the rules for a reason and were removed for a very good reason indeed.

Let's say that you don't know what Reading the Books is comprised of. It is where the characters from a series go and read the books. Pretty simple, right? Many can imagine Lily Evan's reaction if she were to read that her sister didn't care about her son. Or how about Martin finding out his future fate in the Redwall series? How would the series be changed simply by someone reading the books. In truth, the concept is ingenious and could lead to some really good stories, but that's not what many of the so called writers are doing. As I said, I am hard pressed to call what they are doing a story or a fanfic, thus I am hard pressed to really call what they are doing writing. And no... writing words out doesn't count as writing. That's to basic.

What they are doing is coping copyrighted material in mass amount and posting it in their fanfic so that anyone who wants to can read the original material without having to actually pick up the original material. Yes... these fanfics break the rule of not copying from works not in the public domain. Perhaps it would have been different had they copied from a work that was actually in public domain, but even then the person is going to have to deal with the issue of plagiarizing another persons work. They run the chance of having it thrown out because the work doesn't belong to them and they used to much of the original work to substantiate their own work. Particularly since MSTing (inserting comments within the story) is also not allowed. What is the big deal? First is the fact the work is copyrighted and the second is that the person writing it doesn't have to do much in order to write the RtB.

Yeah, I know supporters of the RtB are going to try and say it is very original and very creative. If that were true, then why is it that almost every RtB I've looked at has been pretty much the exact same thing? The real reason people choose to write RtB isn't because they are a good writer, and it isn't because they are a bad writer either. It is a matter of them choosing to take the easy way to do things by following a standard formula that is dictated by the actual book. Really... how much effort would it be to write a RtB without quoting the actual book. Wait... it does take a lot of effort, which is why there are so few that don't break the rules. No, it doesn't matter if the writer's already made a lot of money. And no, no writer would ever support RtB despite the fact they may actually support fanfiction. So don't try the arguments.